The characteristic riff of "My Sharona" was written by the band's guitarist, Berton Averre, years before he joined the Knack. He had played the riff as well as a drum groove for Doug Fieger, the group's lead singer and rhythm guitarist, who loved it and promised to make it a song, although he did not have any ideas for the lyrics.
When Fieger was 25, he met 17-year-old Sharona Alperin, who inspired a two-month-long run of songwriting, as well as becoming Fieger's girlfriend for the next four years. Fieger recounted that "It was like getting hit in the head with a baseball bat; I fell in love with her instantly. And when that happened, it sparked something and I started writing a lot of songs feverishly in a short amount of time." Fieger and Averre worked out the structure and melody of the song. Averre was originally averse to using Alperin's name in the song, but Fieger wanted it to be a direct expression of his feelings; Averre ultimately relented. Fieger claimed that "My Sharona" was written in 15 minutes.
Music and lyrics
The music of the song echoes elements of songs from the 1960s. According to a Trouser Press reviewer, the song's main melodic hook is "an inversion of the signature riff" from "Gimme Some Lovin'," a 1967 song by the Spencer Davis Group. Fieger has acknowledged that the song's tom-tom drum rhythm is "just a rewrite" of "Going to a Go-Go," a song from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles from 1965. Drummer Bruce Gary has stated that although he didn't particularly like the song when Fieger introduced it to the band, he came up with the stuttering beat for the song similar to a surf stomp. He also decided to incorporate a flam, in which two drum strokes are staggered, creating a fuller sound, which Gary considered to be crucial to the song's success.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Fieger noted that the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy.
In addition to being the inspiration for the song, Sharona Alperin posed for the single's picture sleeve. She holds a copy of their album Get the Knack.
The song's clean production sound was also reminiscent of the sound of the 1960s British Invasion. Dick Nusser of Billboard Magazine remarked on the song's "catchy, deliberately awkward, stop-go drum and guitar breaks," its "quirky lyrics" and "suggestive tone," and that the song will "make you ready, willing and able to hum the refrain at the right moment." Chris Woodstra of Allmusic referred to the song as an "unforgettable hit."The New Rolling Stone Album Guide claimed that the song "was a hit for a good reason. The beat is urgent, the chorus calls out for drunken shouting along and the guitar solo is a firecracker flash."
The New York Times called the song "an emblem of the new wave era in rock and a prime example of the brevity of pop fame."
In 1990, on the TV series Full House episode “One Last Kiss”, Jesse Katsopolis and his band play the song at their high school reunion.
In 1994, "My Sharona" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at number 91, when it was released as a single from the Reality Bites soundtrack album. In the film itself, the characters dance to the song at a convenience store.
In 2005, the song gained some attention when it appeared on the playlist of U.S. President George W. Bush's iPod.
In 2008, "My Sharona" was ranked in two Billboard 50th anniversary charts. It ranked 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs and 16 on the Top Billboard Hot 100 Rock Songs.
In video games, "My Sharona" is featured as a downloadable content single for the Rock Band series. On March 1, 2011, an updated version of the cover song was made available to download for use in Rock Band 3 in PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, along with standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony vocals. The original version of the song, along with its music video, is featured on Lips: Party Classics on Xbox 360.
The song was heard in the TV series The Wire 's season two opening episode "Ebb Tide" when Nick and Ziggy return from the Greek's.
Also the song was once heard in the Eerie, Indiana episode "No Brain, No Pain" in which The Knack's "My Sharona" figures prominently in the story—variations were used in the background music and the music over the credits.
In the 2011 film Super 8, the cast is seen singing the song as they are waiting for Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning) to drive up. The song is also heard in the credits after the kids' film, "The Case".
Sharona Alperin, who was the inspiration for the hit, had been a major booster for the band, and brought many girls to their early shows. She has since become a real estate agent in the Los Angeles area, and uses the domain name mysharona.com for her business.
"9 Coronas" by John Mammoser. - Originally recorded in 1987 with release in 1995, and with two followup versions ("10 Coronas" in 1996, and "9 Coronas ('99 version')" in 1999) that were showcased on the Dr. Demento radio programs.
The song has also been featured in several commercials including "My Chalupa" (Taco Bell), "My Toyota" (Toyota), "My Mohegan" (Mohegan Sun)
Run–D.M.C. used an unauthorized audio sample from the song in their 1986 hit "It's Tricky". In 2006, Berton Averre and Doug Fieger filed suit against Apple, Run DMC and others for electronically redistributing the work. The case was settled in 2009.
The B-side of the "My Sharona" single was "Let Me Out". It was written by Fieger and Averre to fill the band's need for a strong opening track for concerts and later for their Get the Knack album. Averre has stated that the song is "absurdly fast." Drummer Bruce Gary felt that the words of "Let Me Out" helped make the song a perfect opener since the band wanted to "let out," and bassist Prescott Niles noted that, with the song, the band was all of a sudden "out of the box." Gary has also claimed that the song was "me trying to be Buddy Rich in a rock 'n' roll band. It was just full on."
Billboard Magazine described "Let Me Out" as "a teen anthem delivered at full throttle" and praised the song's "delightful" harmonies, "slapping" guitars and "perfectly tuned" drumming.Superchunk and The Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster commented on the "full force" of Gary's drumming on "Let Me Out."Ira Robbins and Michael Sandlin of Trouser Press described the song as "tight guitar pop." Author John Borack described the song as "a damn fine pop tune."Audio magazine called it a "basher" with "plenty of style."Allmusic critic Mark Deming stated that the live version of "Let Me Out" has "a joyous force nearly any act would envy."
A 1979 live performance of "Let Me Out" from Carnegie Hall was included on the laser disc of Live at Carnegie Hall. The song was included on their compilation album, Premium Gold Collection. A 2012 vinylEP for Record Store Day includes 1978 live performances of "Let Me Out" and "My Sharona" from Los Angeles and two other songs. The two performances are also included on the live CD of the entire 1978 Los Angeles concert Havin' a Rave-Up.
Bonomo, Joe (2007). Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America's Garage Band. Continuum. p. 153. ISBN978-0-8264-2846-2. Wexler's goal seemed to be replicating the Knack's "My Sharona," the cleanly recorded power-pop classic